Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My Next Stop... Te Arai Point

Several people had mentioned this place to me... It's an Auckland
Council reserve that allows freedom parking. I wanted to have a
look... so here I am.

 Parked as close as possible to the beach and sand dunes.

Grass and sand at my doorstep... To the north...

And to the south. A beautiful day but it didn't last.

 Over the dunes behind me is a pine forest.

And I'm sure you know what I would find there...

 The weather forecast is predicting rain and cyclonic weather...
So off I went, bag and saw in hand...

Past these beautiful daisy's that I'm sure are noxious weeds...
And found bountiful pine cones and dry wood and
stocked up all my baskets and bins with firewood again.

The next day was grey and overcast so I went for a walk before the rain.
It's a beautifully maintained reserve... Toilets, rubbish bins,
a dump for buses and motor homes with a tap. The sign says
'Water not fit for drinking' but it's probably alright if boiled.

Old Pohutukawa trees and picnic tables.

A Kingfisher surveying his territory.

There are two parking areas the bottom one seems more
popular with over nighters.

There were two, then three, then four and more.
Today the weather, as predicted, is windy and heavy rain
so a good place to be parked and off the road. 

 Looking back from the top car park across the
dunes to my bus.

 The rock at the southern point is very popular to climb.

As I walked round there I discover another smaller rock...

And in between a tiny shelly beach. I bet the waves are
pounding through here today.

Another rocky little bay...

And the view to the south... Where today's weather is blowing from.

Back on the north side... the day is getting darker and darker.

It was mild and humid, I expected rain any moment as I set off for a
walk along the hard sand.

The misty view of the rocks and grey sea and sky...
Where does one end and the other start?

And back through the dunes and lupins to my bus.

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Mangawhai Heads

Despite it being such a beautiful spring day at Langs Beach
I decided to move on... Not far... To Mangawhai Heads.

I first came here when my children were young...
We had a big family tent and camped on a friends lawn
not far from where these photos were taken.

That's 30+ years ago now!  I have passed through here
several times since and watched it change
from a small, out of the way, sea-side village with typical
basic New Zealand 'bachs' (small holiday homes).
Now it is very up-market...
A suburb of the Auckland Super-City... And like
Auckland, property development is in full swing  and
most of the cute bachs have disappeared.

I couldn't resist a frozen yogurt cone... And walked right into
an unexpected very interesting conversation.
My bus had attracted the attention of the man at the stall...
He has a bus, not an old Bedford like mine...
But told me he had just returned from a trip round the
gold fossicking sites in the South Island.
I was intrigued... He said it didn't take long to pay for his diesel!
He gave me a web site called 'Paydirt' to look up...
All I need to know about making my fortune in gold!
So, as I'm heading south, and how far south
remains undecided... Who knows?

Mangawhai, despite all the development remains
a wonderful beach... Little Barrier or Great Barrier Island in
the distance. I looked at my map but am undecided as one is in front of
the other, depending on the angle you are looking from.

A fabulous day... A very popular beach for swimming and
surfing the there are some very good walks.

Plenty of information... A large car park...

A suft life saving club and good toilets and changing sheds.
I don't know if you can park overnight in the car park in a self
contained vehicle, but there is a camping ground...
Round to the right of the estuary in the first photo...
But I decided to carry on to the next place.
That's the great thing about being like a snail with my house on my back...

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Monday, 23 September 2013

Langs Beach

Well... The time has come... Again...
I've left the Far North, spent two weeks in Whangarei...
Now I'm slowly travelling south...
How far south I don't know.
My first stop was the little Scottish town of Waipu.
There is a very good cafe there where I had lunch...
Then it was onto Langs Beach...

Where I am parked on the side of the road on a wide verge...

The beach at my doorstep.

When I got here yesterday the weather was horrible...
The wind almost ripped the door out of my hand when I opened it
briefly. The sea was big and noisy and heavy rain during the night.
Needless to say I was very warm and snug with my fire going.
 This morning I woke to a very different scene...
No wind... Beautiful sun... And I'm off for a walk along the beach

Not a very good map... Whangarei top middle...
Langs Beach bottom of the bay on the right.

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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Firewood... Coal... And Stuff

Now I have my fire installed... Of course
I need 'stuff' to burn in it...

 Here is the pile of branches that I cut up
with my 'Silky Zubat' saw. It's very sharp
so makes the job easy.

Buckets of small stuff...

Some I have stored in empty coal sacks...
Wrapped them in a tarpaulin and tied
them onto the bike-rack on front.

The bag of coal sits on the doorstep when
I'm on the move. Other times it's outside.

I had this little basket that is perfect for keeping some
'small stuff'  inside.

One of these seats I have emptied and relocated
the contents and it's now my 'bigger stuff' woodbox.
Also where the brush and shovel... the pan I put on the
floor in front to catch falling hot ash... And the
fire lighters can live during the day... And in the summer
when the fire is not going.

It's working perfectly...

A red hot pine cone.

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Friday, 20 September 2013

My Little Cracker... A Dream Come True

Here is my new fire... A 'Little Cracker' enclosed multi burner.
I have envied other people for long enough...
The time finally came.
I am so excited to have it and be really warm.
This is 10 minutes after the installation was finished...

The kettle is on...
I had been gathering firewood at Uretiti while I was waiting
for the fire to be freighted from Canterbury.
I bought a bag of coal... And a bucket and shovel...
Some fire lighters... I don't bother with paper...
A couple of trivets...

And dinner is cooking...
My little Bedford feels like a real home now .

It was so exciting watching it get installed.
I had been without heating for about six weeks...
My heater failed and I decided not to repair it.
So I had been rather cold sometimes.
Here it is in position, sightly off centre
to give more room coming in the door.

The spot on the ceiling was marked... After making sure the bus
was level, dropping a plumbline and much measuring...
The flue hole was cut from the inside. 
The dilemma was... Was it going to rain as soon as the hole was cut.

Then from the outside... You can see the rain clouds approaching...
And rain it did.

The chimney cowl was put on, the sealant wouldn't
stick or dry... So work came to a halt...

Next day after lunch The sun was out...
Work resumes... The flue was dropped down...

The fireplace sitting on a fire retardant block
and bolted to the floor.

The flue on the roof had a seal put around it and screwed to the roof.
Since this picture the flu was cut down to 10mm above the cowl.

And here it is... Ready to go...

The first match is struck... And a new life begins.
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